Monthly Archives: March 2014

Looking For Something Different?

Mar 26, 2014 | Author: Michael Defone

igc4Looking to spice up college life? Are you bored of just sitting in your room all the time? Maybe Utica College has more to offer than you realized. Greek life is a huge part at Utica College. There are several different organizations out there for you. Coming in as a freshman I was shy and didn’t really know what to do with my spare time at college. The Greek community embraced me with open arms and iv never looked back. If your looking to have fun and be apart of something, Greek life is for you.  Every year Utica College has a special week dedicated to Greeks called Greek Week. This is a full week chalked full of events and plenty of chances for the organizations to show their stripes. Personally watching strolling is my favorite part of Greek Week. This year Greek week will be held from April 13th to April 18th. If you are really looking to make the most out of your college experience, go and explore your options. Most of all Enjoy college and have no regrets.

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You Did Badly on an Exam…You’ll Be Okay.

Mar 25, 2014 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

During my freshman year here at Utica I was insanely hard on myself about tests. Any bad grade and I would beat myself up about it for ages. …Which, I realize now, is not fair.


(Now I’m just sad for a bit, and then I move on.)

Tests are not the end-all-be-all; it may feel like it when professors throw around, “But it’s 15% of your grade!” But it is okay. Most professors try to scare you into studying, which you should do anyway, but there are ways around a bad grade, such as working to complete your homework on time, participating in class, etc. But, if you can’t stop thinking about that bad test here are some tips:

(Note: these tips only work for those who actually studied. If you get a bad grade because you simply didn’t try then these will not apply for you.)

First of all, just move on. Do not dwell on one bad grade. It’s alright to be upset about it, but if you’re still mad a few days later then you are focusing too much on that one test. Look forward. Try to focus on how you’re going to ace the next test.

(Your next test grade!)

 Change up the way you study. Maybe your bad grade was because your study method just wasn’t working. If you only ever re-read the notes, try re-writing them, and maybe reading your textbook as well. I found that, personally, I study better when I’m being asked questions. So, I make review sheets with questions based on my notes, and then I answer those questions.

Also. Check out how you study. Do you study by yourself? With a group of people? Maybe group studying just doesn’t work for you, or maybe it shouldn’t be the only way you study. Try to switch up who you study with.

(The show Community was based on a group of students who formed a study group.)

Lastly, look at your study environment.

I can not study in the library during the day. I can only go at night when I know there won’t be that many people there. I get distracted so easily. However, maybe you are a person that needs the motivation of going to the library, and being surrounded by books…and general “scholarly-ness.”

(The Utica College Library….a frequent study spot for some.)

I also haaaaaave to listen to music while studying, but nothing with words! I find I focus best on material while listening to classical music. I usually play Pachelbel’s Canon in D, on repeat, for as long as I’m studying. I do switch it up sometimes though. However, you should look into if you’re a music person or not. I know some people who need dead silence before they can even think about studying.

So, next time you get a bad test grade, which I hope doesn’t happen(!), don’t fret. Take a breath, then evaluate why you got that grade. You’ll be alright.

How Disney Characters Can Inspire You

Mar 25, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

Now that spring break is officially over, we are entering what I think is the BUSIEST time of the semester. The weeks literally fly by, and there is so much to do! Some of us may have midterms to take, research papers to tackle, and projects to start. Just thinking about it is exhausting, right?!

Well, if you’re anything like me, you know how challenging it can be to find motivation to get things started! You look for inspiration. Then, once you find it, you are DETERMINED to let nothing distract you…..until, something inevitably does. So, how do you stay motivated? How do you possibly stay focused on that study guide that you made for that test? How do you get started on research for that long paper?

Well… for me, believe it or not, Disney – yes, I said Disney – characters have a way of keeping me motivated! I know, it may sound strange, but read on.

As a child, I grew up with a passion and love for Disney and that has continued today. **Come on now – who doesn’t love Disney???**

I’ve seen pretty much every Disney movie, and after watching them, I’ve found little tricks and tips from a few of my favorite Disney characters that have kept me motivated and focused (or have inspired my attitude…especially when it comes to big projects!). If you’re a Disney fan too, they might help you out :) Here are some things to remember when tackling the those tedious assignments for the rest of the semester!

1) Be Tough…Like Gus. 


Ahh….the famous mouse from Cinderella. Gus is tough as nails and is ready to kick some butt! Be the same way when it comes to assignments. Say to yourself, I WILL do great on this assignment! I WILL study so I can ace my test and be proud of myself. I WILL conquer the challenges of my class so I never have to take it again. I know, easier said than done….but, when all else fails, picture this little mouse. I guarantee he’ll make you smile :)

2) Procrastination = Trouble


Now, I’m not saying that if you procrastinate, a band of thugs will come and hound you like they did Aladdin. But, as Aladdin got into trouble, so will you if you procrastinate. If you have a research paper, chances are you know about it at the beginning of the semester. Don’t wait until the week before to start doing your research, and whatever you do, DO NOT wait until the night before it’s due to type it. Really, this applies to anything…tests, projects, etc. Motivate yourself to do your best work, and that certainly doesn’t come from procrastinating.

3) Don’t Be Afraid to Learn


Don’t you want to know what the people know? (<— movie reference) Ariel wasn’t afraid to learn, so why should you be? Ask questions, get some answers. Study. Remember: The more you know, the more you can do. Try to motivate yourself, and know that by studying and focusing, you will be able to answer questions correctly, ace exams, and just be more well-rounded. Knowledge is power, my friends. (and, good grades does good for the ego too ;))

4) Go the Distance


Hercules went the distance. Can you? Find your confidence. Having a positive attitude towards assignments and tests can really make a world of difference. If you approach anything with a negative attitude, the results are usually the same. Believe in yourself and know that no test, quiz, paper, etc. will stop you from doing your best. If that doesn’t work, listen to this song. It’s definitely empowering.

5) Hakuna Matata

Hakuna matata

Timon and Pumba say it best, right? Hakuna Matata. And in case you’ve been living under a rock, this wonderful phrase from The Lion King means “no worries.” Ok, this is not to say be careless. It’s your life; remember that your actions DO have consequences, but don’t stress. Stress is undoubtedly the worst motivator. Actually, it doesn’t motivate you at all. All stress does is make you nervous, cloud your mind or make things bigger than they really are. Save yourself the hassle of that mess! Take on the no worries attitude. Motivate yourself by thinking that no assignment, grade, test, or paper, will bring you down. You can handle it.

UC changed me

Mar 24, 2014 | Author: Juwan Wilson

My freshmen year is coming to a close, and as cliché as this may sound , Utica College has changed me for the better. Although my stay has just begun, this small but not-so-small place has taught me knowledge within the classroom, and also knowledge outside of equations , writing skills and all the other occupational skills we hope to acquire when we enter college. This knowledge that was provided to me was about me. It seems crazy, but Utica College gave me knowledge about myself.
I know that sounds even crazier that an institution taught me about myself, and none of the information that was taught has anything to do with books, but UC did just that. It provided me with new friends, poetry events , monologues , talent shows , forms , fraternities , sororities , walks for different causes and so many different things I really don’t have the time to speak about.

Before I stepped foot on campus, I was all about football, and only football. With these new influences on my life, I’m now about football , poetry , owning my own fashion company , writing blogs, and yes, making sure that my grades are where they need to be. I’m thankful for this new thought process UC has given me. And I guess the saying is true: “When you think you know everything about yourself, you learn something else … It just takes the right time , people and place to reveal it.”

Careers vs. Jobs: Use Your Degree to Fuel Your Passion

Mar 17, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

Let’s face it: at 17 or 18 years-old, fresh out of high school….who honestly knows what they want to do for the rest of their lives? Sure, there are those lucky few who know right from small that they are destined to be a doctor or lawyer or teacher. But, for the majority of people, the choices are confusing and, at times, overwhelming!

When the time comes to pick a college or choose a major, you’ll always hear things like, “What do you plan on doing with your degree?” or, “You better choose a degree that will make you money!” Stop right there. Get those thoughts out of your mind. While of course it is so important to be able to be financially secure, it is also important to be happy too.


After all, it is your life. Don’t settle for anything less than what makes you happy. Now, I know this is easier said than done. Some of us have passions that unfortunately can’t transfer over into degrees. Me? As I said many times, my number one passion in life is animals. I love them, I respect them, and I want more than anything to help them and work with them every day. In fact, my goal is to open my own rescue/foster shelter someday….much like Spring Farm CARES.

But, like I said, entering college, there was no major for working with animals. So, I had to stay content with volunteering and try to find something else that I could use to fuel my passion. That’s how public relations started for me. I realized that, although my days couldn’t be spent in the company of my furry friends, I can use this degree toward spreading awareness about shelter events, adoptions, etc….and that makes me happy.


So, this post is basically for anyone who feels stuck, or feels like they just can’t find their place. Here’s a few tips that I did, that worked for me, and may work for you too :)

1. Think. Think about what your passion is and build around it. If your passion can be made into a career or used as a degree, GREAT. Do it. If not, focus on how you can make your current situation better. Focus on what you can do to use a degree toward your love. Think on it. Pray about it. Act on it.

2. Ask advice. It’s not wrong to ask for help. It’s hard making a big decision by yourself without any guidance. Don’t be embarrassed. Talk to your parents (trust me….they know more than you think) or talk to a close friend, relative, adviser…..anyone who you trust and that you know has your best interest at heart. Be cautious though. Too many opinions can lead to more confusion. Stick with one or two people.

3. Don’t listen to everyone. OK, I know that contradicts everything I said in #2. But wait. While it’s great to get advice from someone (actually it is needed) you have to remember that, ultimately, the choice of what you want to do, is still yours. If you get a pull in your heart that you know feels right….DO IT. Follow it. Don’t let others dictate your happiness.

4. Don’t stress. Plenty of people go through the same thing every day. Plenty of students change their major at least once. Just because you feel a little lost, overwhelmed or confused doesn’t mean you won’t figure things out. Trust me. Don’t let the money, the degree evaluation, and the estimated graduation date make you nervous. That will all take care of itself in due time :)

A Little-Known Treasure on Campus

Mar 11, 2014 | Author: Joseph Fryc

Over the three years I have been working in the Art Gallery on campus, I’ve heard the same question at least 100 times from students: “We have an art gallery?” It’s even possible that you asked the same question as you began reading this post. Though sometimes overlooked, the gallery provides a unique opportunity for students to experience high-quality art right on campus, and it’s free!


Generally, the gallery exhibits two to three shows a semester, each lasting about one or two months long. These exhibits range from local artists like those of the “Utica Camera Club” show, to renowned artists like those exhibited this month in “The Landscape Revisited.” The common theme is the quality of the work that the gallery exhibits. Each show is produced, hung, and advertised by the student staff, under the leadership of the gallery director Carolynne Whitefeather.


In addition to the great exhibits, the gallery provides other services for the college community. The gallery is able to be reserved for meetings by students and staff with the gallery directors approval. Likewise, the gallery regularly shows films and documentaries, while also maintaining a quiet reserved space for students to come study or simply relax after a stressful day.

The gallery also hosts two to three Art Fridays during each semester, which give students the opportunity to relax and hang out while learning how to make fine arts and crafts. These crafts range from holiday themed pieces to creative uses for household items, but all are easy and fun to create. Often, attendees will be entered into a giveaway to win prizes just for showing up.


The gallery is one of the largest employers of students on campus with 16 students currently on staff, each bringing their own skills and experiences to the production and presentation of the exhibit. It is not uncommon for the gallery employees to be responsible for conducting research on upcoming exhibits and projects, as well as pieces contained in the college’s extensive art collection.

The gallery aims to send each student away with something they can use to market themselves to potential employers after they graduate from Utica College. The student employees are thoroughly taught information about the exhibits to provide the best experience for the visitor when they come to the gallery. I would challenge you, perhaps to the dismay of my co-workers, to come down and ask any employee about the artwork. I expect that you will walk away being impressed with the information and insight they can give you.

I personally encourage any student to stop down to the gallery whenever they can, and that’s not just because I work there. Having a knowledge of artwork can really be a selling point when applying for jobs or impressing the higher-ups once you have the job. Also, who wouldn’t want to add a little culture to their lives? I can tell you from personal experience that being able to speak about art will make you seem all that more intelligent.

Want to know more?

You can connect to the Gallery Online at these links:







The Uniqueness of Upstate NY

Mar 11, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

As I said in my very first post, I was born and raised here in Utica.  I pretty much know this area like the back of my hand. However, I ALWAYS hear things like, “The weather is so cold and lousy, why do you live here?” or, “The city has nothing to do, why do you stay here?”

Some parts may be true, but let’s face it: not every area is perfect. There are a lot of unique things that Upstate NY and yes, Utica have to offer that other areas don’t or wish they could!

1) The Food

Ok, who doesn’t love to eat??? If you’re anything like me, you appreciate the wide variety of food that Utica in particular has to offer! I come from an Italian and Polish heritage, and lucky for me, by living in this area, I get to experience the best of both worlds!

If you’re Italian, then you know how important food is in our heritage. Now if you want some authentic Italian food, that tastes like Italy itself, then you MUST try Basil Bluz Bistro in North Utica.


Seriously, try it. They have the absolute best Italian food I have ever eaten. (Aside from home cooked meals of course ;))


Look at their Chicken Riggies…..these are a Northern thing and we LOVE it! Go try these. Really. You can thank me later. (Picture courtesy of the Basil Bluz facebook page)

If you’re in the mood for some greens or even Chicken Parmesan, skip the Olive Garden and go to Georgio’s Village Cafe in New Hartford.

georgios 62824688_scaled_373x248

*Seriously don’t the greens look appetizing? I’m hungry already….

If you’re also Polish like me, then of course you know that food is very important to our people. We’ve all seen the frozen, imitation pierogi in the store. Let’s not even go there shall we? The one place that I know for sure that makes the BEST pierogi is Pulaski’s Meat Market on Lenox Ave, in West Utica.


They have every type of pierogi you can imagine (the fruit ones being my favorite :))…and if you’ve never had a pierogi…you should. Take my word for it.

2) The Bakeries

Yes, I could’ve just grouped this in with the restaurants, but in all honesty, the bakery’s around here deserve their own category. There are numerous Italian Bakery’s around here. Cafe Caruso, Cafe Florentine, Cafe Canole, Star Bakery and the list goes on.

But, without a doubt, my favorite is Holland Farms.

Flag - Holland Farms

Yes, they have coffee, jelly buns, and all of that good stuff, but they are also home to probably the most delicious thing you’ll ever eat: The Halfmoon. Ahh, they are quite the delicacy up here…and the best part? You can’t find them anywhere else :)


Need I say more? YUM!

3) The Scenery

So, now you may be thinking “Scenery? What scenery?” Well….only 35-40 minutes away from Utica is a breathtaking area called The Adirondacks.

Old Forge, which is a few miles before the Adirondacks themselves, is my favorite place to be in the summer and fall. During the summer, it is so peaceful and relaxing up there.


See what I mean? I love to chill up there, sit near the water (or take a boat ride) and read my Kindle. AND, can’t forget about feeding the cute, little ducks that swim by 😉

001**They really are precious little things!***

In the fall, Old Forge (and pretty much all surrounding areas) is filled with GORGEOUS foliage. The trees are so colorful, so beautiful….just seeing all that really makes me enjoy fall!



So, take my word for it: Utica and the rest of Upstate NY may have its downfalls, but it also has several one-of-a-kind things to see and experience! The older I get, the more my appreciation grows for this diverse and cultured area.


How To Be Stress-Free.

Mar 11, 2014 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

Being stress-free may be a challenging goal for most people, but there are ways to decrease the amount of stress you feel on a daily basis, especially with midterms right around the corner.

Personally, I do not handle stress well. I know this and live up to it. I do, however, try to reduce the amount of stress I feel on a daily basis. Here are some quick (and easy!) tips I have learned and have asked of others for how to reduce how stressed you feel.

1. Exercise!

Photo: Yoga with Jeff today was a success! Thank you to everyone who came out to support. Keep a look out for the next class.

(A picture from the yoga class I attended that the Utica College Medical Society, and Alpha Epsilon Delta put on.)

I find yoga incredibly relaxing. (And if you’re like me, there is going to be another charity yoga class put on soon, which you can attend!) However, if “namaste” really isn’t your thing, you can run, walk, lift weights, go crazy with the Insanity program, or do anything that gets you moving more than usual. Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people just don’t go crazy from stress.

2. Make Lists!

Write down what you have to do. I’m one of those people that writes down every. single. thing. I would forget something if I didn’t have it down on a post-it, or in a list. Also, you feel extra great when you get to cross something off your list. Being productive makes people feel happy. Happy=less stress.

3. Schedule Free Time!

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(A picture I tweeted last year from my personal planner)

This is a joke, I obviously don’t have to plan to be spontaneous. However, sometimes people forget. When you have so much to do, and so many classes requiring different things, you sometimes get so caught up in doing all the work. Take a break. Breathe. Watch some TV. Go creep on Facebook for a bit – whatever you can do to take your mind off of the work for a while;  just that small time off can help you destress.

4. Sleep!

(Brittany Thompson taking a nap in public.)

Take some time to sleep. Write it in your schedule if you have to. People get mean when they’re tired. Or people who are tired….are tired. When you’re tired you’re more susceptible to being irritable, being depressed, and increasing your stress levels. So, destress, take a nap.

5. Eat! (Regular Meals!)

(When you’re stressed you should vary your diet. Eat fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates, and be sure to get good sources of protein.)

When I’m working along, I tend to forget to grab a meal, and when I’m hungry I just grab a quick bite by eating a granola bar or an apple. When you’re stressed, you should vary what you eat. Eat a wide variety of foods. Make Michelle Obama happy and choose foods from each part of the pyramid.

So, may the force be with you this midterms (and extra stressful) season, you can do it.


Everyone Should Read the News

Mar 10, 2014 | Author: Colleen Bierstine

photos & backgrounds3

As a public relations major, I am told on a daily basis by professors how I should be paying attention to the news. In this profession, it’s expected that you know what’s going on not just in your immediate environment, but in the world as well. I certainly can’t argue with that. However, I don’t agree that it’s just PR people who should be keeping tabs on newsworthy goings-on in the world; every student in every major should.

Let’s start with a really simple and relatable example: How foolish do you feel when somebody asks you if you heard about that thing that happened in that place, and you’re like “Uhhh….what?”

Or worse, you nod and say, “Oh yeah!” and pretend to know what the heck they’re talking about.

Save yourself from that awkward situation and check out the news once in a while. You’ll feel so gosh darn smart when you can reply with confidence, “Yes, actually, I did!” Then go on and show them your well-educated demeanor.

You honestly feel so much cooler when you can be the one ASKING other people if they heard about that thing that happened the other day in that place. And when they say “no,” you can go ahead and inform them. Way to spread the knowledge, you good Samaritan, you!

Plus, the more you read the news, the more you want to read the news. It becomes a habit, and you feel disconnected and out of the loop when you don’t keep up. It’s like when you don’t get to check Facebook for a few days, am I right?

No matter what your profession is, having knowledge about what’s going on in the world around you is beneficial. Even if you work at McDonald’s, you can keep tabs on the latest in the fast food industry. Or if you work in an office all day, check out the news from the competition and impress your boss when you come up with ways to keep up with them.

It’s a common misconception that all news is boring. Certainly, some of it is, but even the boring stuff is important. You might not be into politics, for example, but having an idea about what’s going on makes you knowledgeable about your own country, and let’s you make better informed decisions in your day-to-day life.

Plus, there is always news to address what you are interested in. For example, there is a plethora of news material for me as a foodie to indulge in. And there are more quirky avenues of acquiring your news. Although accurate and informative, traditional media like ABC or The New York Times aren’t the most exciting. Try websites like Buzzfeed. Is there a lot of fluff on Buzzfeed? Yes, but they do real news too, and they present it in such an easily digestible way.

What it comes down to is that you never want to be in the dark. I know that ignorance sounds easy, and sometimes, it just feels better to turn the other cheek. But why is that when we know that ignoring something doesn’t make it go away? The best we can do is educate ourselves with what’s going on the world. There’s no better way to tackle fear than finding out as much as you can about what frightens you. For some people, that’s war. for others, it’s the latest fashion trends.

Don’t be in the dark. As college students, we’re no longer innocent children who look at the world with rose-tinted glasses. Take those glasses off and watch your local news in the morning. Even Good Morning America or the Colbert Report will update you.

No excuses.

The ‘I Am Beautiful’ Campaign

Mar 9, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

So, this past week was the ‘I Am Beautiful” campaign.  As I walked to class every day, I kept seeing signs posted on various boards around campus saying “I am beautiful because….” I admit, I didn’t quite know what that was all about, but I loved seeing the answers that some people gave. So, I decided to find out more.

I did some research on what this “campaign” was really about, and I have to say…I LOVE the message it brings to girls and women everywhere. This campaign aims to reach out to females to love and accept themselves just the way they are. It tackles the struggles of body image and self esteem.


It is no secret that women get judged more than men.  It is also no secret that women struggle with self-confidence and self-worth.  The world keeps advertising that you need make-up, you need to be a size 0, you need to walk a certain way and talk a certain way. Good news. You DON’T. 


Take off all the make-up. Throw away the magazines. Turn off the TV. You do not need to hide under those things. Sure, we all love make-up. I wear it every day! We all love to wear what’s in style (or we wish we could), but that’s not the most important thing in life. Sizes and labels are fake. They don’t mean anything. There’s so much more that matters, so much more that girls need to understand about themselves.


The mirror will tell you lies of vanity. It doesn’t care what’s underneath. This campaign reaches out to say….STOP focusing on the negative labels. Stop hating yourself for what you are or aren’t. Kick those stereotypes out the door.

So the moral of this post…..Strive to be healthy, strive to be happy. Love yourself and your body, after all it’s the only one you have!



***Kudos to Pinterest for these pictures***